It`s my experience multi-effect pedals and amp modelling floor simulators is that they do a lot of things well, but not many of them as brilliantly as the real thing piece of gear they are emulating. That is not surprising really as with the case of the BOSS ME-80 if you were to buy all the effects and amps available in real life as is available to you in this little box, you would be spending tens of thousands of pounds or dollars, not the few hundred it costs to buy this.
It is a bit annoying though, when the marketing team from these companies go on about the quality and their product lives up to the real thing. I will say it now, I haven`t used a simulator that is as good as the real thing. Some are pretty close, some miles away. Even the ones that are pretty close at emulating the real thing often don`t quite have the flexibility or complete range of the real item. To me, the ME-80 isn`t any dissimilar…but that doesn`t mean it isn`t pretty damn good.
The BOSS ME-80 is not like your typical multi effects pedal. It is more like using a pedal board of unique and awesome stomp boxes. If you`re familiar with the ME-70, it`s a pretty big upgrade although it still has it`s compact size but now with eight footswitches. There are a tonne of effects including all your typical effects such as pitch shifting, overdrive, wah, compression, delay, modulations, reverbs, EQs, etc. Plus the interestingly named Boss’s Tera Echo, which incorporates Multi Dimensional Processing (MDP) technology to create a range of ambiences.
The BOSS ME-80 also has a tap tempo, tuner, a phrase-loop function with 38 seconds of recording, and a built-in USB audio interface for recording to a DAW that includes the possibility of recording a dry sound while listening to the ME-80’s effects, and then re-amping it later which is pretty cool.
You can use the ME-80 as a standalone board but you can also essentially add it to your existing pedal board. There are some really cool effects in here, so you can use it complement your existing pedal. That way you get to keep all those classic boutique stomp boxes but get to play about with and use the very cool and unique effect available here that you would maybe not normally buy.
Thankfully, the BOSS ME-80 is pretty simple to use, but that doesn`t mean it isn’t full of interesting and high quality, and complicated (if need be) sounds. If you like your crazy out of this world sounds, you will love it.
The clean settings are generally very cool, as shown in the examples below but I have always found clean sounds are pretty easy to emulate. Maybe I`m just less picky about a clean sound, I have never had a problem with getting a good one using a multi effects pedal. With a sprinkle of reverb and a touch of delay if you’re interested you can get some great clean sounds from this pedal.
The high gain sounds are great too. There is a lot power and the midrange doesn`t get squeezed out as on other multi effects amp simulators I have tried. The medium gain, crunchy classic tones are one of the highlights of this pedal. If you`re into AC/DC, Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin, and love your tube amp sound, you will get on great with this.
This is what Boss say about it:
“Think of a box and the BOSS ME-80 ticks it. Under the bonnet, an array of ultra-realistic COSM amp models replicate the coolest amps in history, and pro Boss effects are ready to give your songs wings. On the dashboard, a pedalboard-style layout of gig-friendly footswitches, intuitive controls and expression pedal let you bring the noise fast and shape it in real-time.
Live guitarists will lap up the Boss ME-80, but so too will production boffins, thanks to free Boss Tone Studio software that allows deep editing on your computer, and gives a web connection to the gig-ready patches and endless guitar content at Boss Tone Central. There’s a new Boss in town.”
- Compact and powerful floor multi-effects with simple knob-based interface
- Eight simultaneous effects categories, each with multiple effects types
- Dial up tones with the ease of using your favourite stompboxes
- Includes a massive selection of top-quality effects, from classic Boss stomps to the latest MDP effects
- Updated flagship-level COSM amps derived from the GT-100
- Eight multi-function footswitches and expression pedal
- Manual mode for stompbox-style on/off; Memory mode for switching complete patch setups
- Delay section includes Phrase Loop function with 38 seconds of recording
- Runs on six AA batteries or optional PSA-series AC adapter
- USB audio/MIDI interface built in
- Free Boss Tone Studio software allows you to edit and organise tones on your computer, and also preview and download free patches directly from the Boss Tone Central website
You might be stuck in your bedroom, but the Boss ME-80 keeps your finger on the pulse of the gear scene. If your computer has Internet access, the Boss Tone Studio application gives you an integrated connection to the Boss Tone Central website. A fast-growing online hub for all players that use Boss gear, it’s the place to head for artist interviews, instructional videos and the chance to download free gig-ready patches created by top guitar pros into your ME-80. And that’s just for starters…
The patches are constructed from up to eight simultaneous effects, including, if you want them, COSM amp sims. The actual range of onboard effects is really wide, featuring all of the standard stuff you would expect, plus some new things such as Boss’s Tera Echo, which incorporates Multi Dimensional Processing (MDP) technology to create a range of ambiences.
The ME-80 also has tap tempo, tuner, a phrase-loop function with 38 seconds of recording, and a built-in USB audio interface for recording to a DAW that includes the possibility of recording a dry sound while listening to the ME-80’s effects, and then re-amping it later.
There are a lack of silly, often complicated menus for the sake of it menus. No menus = getting straight to the sound you want. Us guitarists love just getting on with it. When I want a clean sound with a dotted eighth note Edge style delay. I want it fast. I don`t want to sit there tweaking dials for a minutes at a time while my inspiration for the riff dries up and I put the guitar down. With the ME-80, this thankfully doesn`t happen.
Have a watch of the videos below especially the one with Joshua Munday. He runs through a series of classic rock tones all the way from Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osbourne, Jimmy Page, to Tom Morello. The Jimi Hendrix style tones emulate songs such as `Red House` with its cleanish tone sounding great. Then he starts cranking the overdrive and we hear great replications of Jimi`s iconic lead tone as used in Foxy Lady and Purple Haze.
You really hear the whole range of sounds on offer here and they all sound great. Josh obviously spent some time tweaking these patches to get these killer tones, but the great thing is t hat you can download them from Boss Central. If there are certain that you want, just get programming them yourself.
The BOSS ME-80 sounds fantastic and it is pretty easy to use even for the technophobes amongst us.